iPhone 6 Plus: First Impressions

After some initial disappointment, my iPhone 6 Plus finally arrived on Monday. Unboxed (carefully) , sim-card inserted, I was up and running in minutes.

I’ve been using it intensively all week, and while this isn’t a full and detailed review of the phone, I can safely share the following first impressions:

It’s big

It’s big. It’s bigger than you’d think. It’s bigger than I thought, even though I’d played with one in a mobile phone store last weekend. It’s big and yet it’s not. It’s extremely slim and very, very light. It’s not so big that it’s unusable and I’ve yet to drop it through an ill-advised one-handed-walking-down-the-street manoeuvre. It has been snug in the Apple leather case, which definitely makes it less likely to slip out of your hand.

The size definitely won’t work for everyone. Hipsters in skinny jeans, for example. While I can fit the phone into my skinny-ish jeans (I’m no hipster, despite the unintentionally hilarious facial hair and love for unpopular music) but then it’s impossible to get it back out if I’m sitting down. Or climbing stairs.

I am, however, someone who has missed a large screen every day since the old PDAs went out of fashion. So a PDA-like iPhone is the answer to my dreams. If you’re thinking about getting an iPhone 6, but unsure which model to go for, I strongly encourage you to go and play with them in store. Don’t buy one sight-unseen like me. I’m definitely an edge-case when it comes to mobile phones.

And if you’re moving from an iPhone 4, then prepare to be shocked.

The screen

The screen is, in short, glorious. I enjoy watching video podcasts and normally “consume” these via my iPad Mini. But this screen, on which video seems to pop out and massage my eyeballs (not the best of metaphors, but I’m tired) is perfect and I’ve not used my iPad Mini once since opening the iPhone 6 box.

Really. I’m not actually sure where it is right now, if I’m honest. Somewhere in the apartment. Probably weeping at its abandonment and slide into oblivion.

I’ve watched about a half-dozen video podcasts this week – all over an hour in length – and not once did I miss a bigger screen. Back in the old days, when I struggled to live with an iPhone 5S (intentional use of hyperbole), I’d give up on video podcasts after a few minutes and pop the phone in my pocket – the audio was enough – to avoid squinting.

I’ve had strangers blatantly watch along with me when I’ve been on the Tube. Thankfully, all the podcasts I watch are suitable for playing in public.

Which leads me to a serious point. The bigger the screen, the easier it is for others to see what you’re looking at. One morning, one particularly rude guy blatantly watched me work through my email inbox. I had to stare him down until he looked away. The screen is bright and large and definitely attracts unwanted attention. I’ve turned down the brightness when in public to avoid this.

The battery

The battery is better. It’s not stunning, but I definitely get more use out of a single charge. Yesterday, I used it steadily – voice and data – and when I checked at 7pm, I still had 59% battery left.

It’s a definitely improvement, but to be honest, I won’t be happy until mobile devices charge themselves through contact with my skin. Plugging things into the wall is so 20th century…

iOS 8

I can’t do justice to all the many and varied improvements iOS 8 brings to the iPhone. Instead, I’ll highlight some I’ve really enjoyed.

Firstly, the iPhone 6 Plus allows you to use several of the key applications (e.g. Mail) in landscape mode. I’ve wanted this from day one and look forward to other third-party developers introducing the same to their apps in the coming months.

I love the new simplified sharing. It’s got me back into using Instapaper, where I can send long-form articles from Safari with just a couple of clicks. And reading long articles via Instapaper on this screen is fantastic. So I’m reading more and more when I have some downtime between meetings and on the tube.

Finally, adding widgets to the notifications screen is excellent. Now, with a simple swipe down from the top of the screen, I can see my appointments for the day, start a new Evernote note, read headlines from The Guardian and see the weather. Again, I’m sure third-party developers will update their apps to enable this functionality. Personally speaking, I think this is a more elegant solution than having lots and lots of on-screen widgets, like with Android.

The review of iOS 8 from The Verge is well worth a read.

No bend

Despite heavy use all week, I’ve not managed to bend my iPhone 6 Plus. Is there something wrong with me? Aren’t I strong enough? Or might it be that I’m not living under the double-whammy of obesity and stupidity that leads people to keep their high-end smartphone in your back pocket. And then sit your fat ass down on it.

Seriously. I despair sometimes…

Finally

Would I recommend the iPhone 6 Plus? In a heartbeat, but with some caveats. The size is enough to put many (most?) users off. But if you like big screens, if you enjoy watching video on the move and if you miss the PDAs we all loved in the 90s, then it’s a no-brainer. But please – check them out in-store before handing over any cash.

You won’t be able to operate it one-handed, and you may feel silly speaking into it. I prefer to use headphones with a built-in mike anyway.

Funnily enough, I’ve yet to see another one “in the wild”. Plenty of iPhone 6 models being waved about here in Canary Wharf, but not a single Plus model. I’m wondering if they’re less attractive or just harder to find.

Anyway, I’m happy with mine. Very happy indeed.

  1. Thanks for your initial impressions.

    Just measured my Psion 5mx 17cm x 9cm x 2.2cm so factionally bigger than the 6+ thicker obviously! Screen size 15 cm diagonal (5.9 inches) But only in lovely 16 grey scale colours… but viewable in full sunlight…

    Our iPhone 6’s are on their way, a few days earlier than they estimated 🙂

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    1. Excellent! Which ones are you getting?

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      1. Just the regular size ones not the 6+ Alison will have a 64GB one 128GB for me!

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        1. Great stuff. I’m sure you’ll like them. So light and such a great screen.

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